Police ID officer involved in March 23 fatal shooting at mobile home parkPosted: Updated:
Phoenix police have identified the officer involved in a fatal shooting at a mobile home park last month.
Police say that officer is Shawn Magness, 33. Magness has been with the department for approximately nine years.
The shooting happened on March 23. Francisco Valdez was shot by police at a mobile home park near 67th Avenue and Van Buren Street,
According to Phoenix Police Sgt. Alan Pfohl, officers had received a call from a woman that said her two sons were fighting.
When officers arrived, one of the sons was gone, but 24-year-old Valdez was still inside the mobile home, and "acting aggressive," according to Pfohl.
Per Phoenix police, when the officers went inside and contacted Valdez, he suddenly ran to the kitchen, armed himself with a knife and charged toward one of the officers.
The officer attempted to retreat and fell backward over a couch. Police say that Valdez again approached the officer on the ground at which time the second officer fired his handgun at Valdez.
Valdez was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
[ORIGINAL STORY: PD: Suspect came after officers with a knife in west Phoenix]
Police say Valdez's mother, Lorenza Valdez, called 911 to report that her son was having a negative mental health episode. But Mrs. Valdez claims that this was not a domestic violence call.
"I told them my son was having a mental health crisis... my son never hit me,” Mrs. Valdez said.
Valdez's family, along with civil rights leader Rev. Jarrett Maupin, held a press conference on Monday, April 3 to demand an independent investigation into Valdez’s death and actions taken by police.
According to a press release from the family, photos have been released of Valdez that show he was shot in the back multiple times.
Maupin and the family say that this is not the first time that Phoenix police have used deadly force on someone with a mental health emergency, citing the shooting death of a mentally-ill woman killed in her doorway during a mental-health related call.
The woman, Michelle Cusseaux, was shot to death and a subsequent investigation revealed that the officer who killed her violated several Phoenix Police Department policies and procedures.
The City of Phoenix paid the family of Cusseaux more than $700,000 to avoid a lawsuit and pledged to make reforms to how police handle situations involving people who have mental health issues.
The group wants an independent investigation into the case and says that it is unfair to expect the Phoenix police to investigate themselves.
"Every time something like this happens, Phoenix police leaders try to get away with looking into their officers' own bad behavior. Every time someone dies in a controversial way and evidence points to a failure on the part of the police, the department tries to get away with investigating themselves,” Maupin said.
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